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A blog dedicated to the Source of everything good.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Values worth passing on

I attended the funeral of a special person yesterday. This gentleman had a generous and thoughtful spirit and was known for his deep commitment to personal values – those things that make a person who they are – and his untiring efforts even as he struggled from his wheelchair during the final years of his long life. Though not well-known outside of the organizations he worked with nor leaving any family behind, he will still be long remembered for his dedication to the following values, which the eulogists enjoined us all to celebrate and pass on:

1) Community. GH believed in the importance of being active in one’s community. Something I really appreciate about the town I live in is that there is a lot of community pride and dedication to old-fashioned civic values. I fear that this value is rapidly eroding in contemporary society, where people tend to be transient and often settle far from family and the founts of their ethnic heritage.

2) Friendship. Each person who eulogized GH spoke of the sincerity of his friendship. He believed in the importance of reaching out to and getting to know people, perhaps even people whom one would not “naturally” associate with. He valued the gifts, resources, and special traits that others had and believed in the importance of investing in others' lives.

3) Excellence. Each eulogist also commented on GH’s continuous, unrelenting pursuit of quality. He believed so much in the intrinsic value of good things and of people that he took great pains, often working over programs for events he helped organize until each and every detail was right, even to the frustration of others involved. But all acknowledged that at the heart of GH’s pursuit was maintenance of integrity and a respect for persons that wished to see no one disappointed because something wasn’t done properly.

4) Heritage. GH believed in the importance of knowing from whence one came and of valuing and treasuring those customs, traditions, and art forms that had meaning to one’s ancestors, regardless of which culture they hailed from. He believed that traditions have deep meaning as particular expressions of a people.

5) Culture. This is the summation of #s 1 through 4. Community is where corporate benefit is realized. It’s where one serves with the talents and resources one has been given. This benefit blooms in friendship – true sharing, mutually-respecting and -beneficial friendship. It also finds its zenith in excellence of service; in doing everything as “rightly” as possible. In such function, cultural traditions will be passed on even as new ones arise out of a shared experience of life.

6) God. The bulletin cover read, “the my song,” and this really was true for GH. He loved and appreciated good music of all kinds (and taught choral music for several years), doing so unto the Lord. This is how my husband and I came to know him; we played for events he directed.

The basis of #s 1-5 above was GH’s Christian faith, an “old-fashioned” and pervasive Lutheran faith. Repeated at the service was the Scripture GH had read at his sister’s funeral fifteen years previous:
2 Corinthians 5:1-8
For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven; inasmuch as we, having put it on, shall not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed, but to be clothed, in order that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight – we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

I Corinthians 13:12:
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.

Romans 8:35-39:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

GH now enjoys what he has been waiting so many years for, God rest his soul.


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